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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Florida men’s golf team is hoping to play up to its potential this spring, following a fall season filled with ups and downs.

It opens the new season today at the Sea Best Invitational in Jacksonville, a tournament where the team has found success in the past.

Over the past five seasons, UF has won two team titles and two individual titles under coach J.C. Deacon in four appearances. Recently, the Gators finished third last spring but doing so again this year will be tough considering the competition.

The Gators are currently on the outside looking in, ranking 38th.

To succeed, the team is going to need its relatively young roster, which includes eight underclassmen, to take a big step forward.

Golfers like junior John Axelsen, who was at the top of the starting lineup, had an impressive fall campaign who saw a scoring average of 70.92 and had three top-15 finishes.

Freshman Ricky Castillo is another highly-touted freshman who needs to live up to the hype of being the No. 8 amateur in the world. He had a solid fall season with finishes within the top-25 of every tournament he participated in, but the expectations are still higher.

Redshirt senior Blake Dyer’s return will also be critical because of the experience he can bring to this extremely young roster. The senior is coming back to the lineup for the first time since the 2018 NCAA Regionals and is playing some of his best golf, having finished in the top five in two tournaments over the winter break.

This Monday, those three, along with junior Chris Nido and redshirt freshman Fred Biondi, will get their first opportunity to make a statement against some of the best teams in the country.

Follow Christian Berry on Twitter @Berry052199 and contact him at cberry@alligator.org.

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